I'm going to be doing something a bit different for this Christmas review. I have looked at manga before with the one hit Skullman. I will have to say this to start, Black Cat is my absolute favorite manga series and I finally got to finish it today. I remember starting with Black Cat when there was a one chapter special in a Shonen Jump collection. I loved those big manga collections, it was a huge part of my childhood and it easily kept me interested in the Japanese entertainment. When I read that special chapter of Black Cat I was stoked. Two sweepers collecting up bounties while trying to protect others, it looked like a buddy cop like story in a manga form. Now Black Cat is easily more about that, but when I was young I was hooked with that idea and then came the anime. I remember watching the anime and I was content with it and then I finally started to find the volumes in my book store. Now for the one I prefer it's easily the manga, but I will say the anime did a pretty good job adapting the story even though it did put an ending that wasn't necessary. I can't even remember when I started to pick up the volumes one by one, it's been so long and I now finally finished it. What's worse is that I found the final volume, but I needed four before it. So I had volume twenty with the other books. I constantly read the volumes I had and twenty was still there untouched. Now I finally finished the series and I want to give a review on it.
Black Cat starts with as I stated before, with the two main characters Train Heartnet and Sven Vollfied as they are looking for their next target. The two are sweepers which are pretty much bounty hunters as they bring criminals to justice for pay. The two simply live life doing their job and the first chapter shows this well. During this hunt though they end up helping one of their targets and soon they get involved with a little more trouble. Now the main story doesn't start here, but the first chapter just shows who the characters are and even giving the readers an insight of who Train is. Train wields a large black gun with the marking of thirteen in roman numerals. This gun belongs to the Black Cat who was a legendary assassin who worked with an organization called Chronos. It's an organization that aims for world peace and their plan is to give maintain balance in the world. The organization even controls one third of the economy so Chronos has more than physical strength backing them up. Train was the thirteenth assassin and the rumors said he died two years ago, but what actually happens is that he became a stray cat. This is where the story mostly revolves around, how Train decided to not be an assassin anymore and soon having his past come back. Sven actually doesn't have any connection with Chronos, he's just an ordinary sweeper with a special gift. The two start to get more jobs and soon they get involved in a huge job. Hired by Rinslet a thief, their next job is to rescue a girl from a gangster. This is where Eve comes into play as she was raised to be a killing machine and with the nanomachines in her body she can transform her body freely. Sven's gentlemanly behavior and father-like attitude behavior really shines here as he doesn't leave any women behind. With Eve he doesn't want to see a girl like her live a life full of murder. Soon Eve joins the gang and soon even she partakes in helping Sven and Train with their job. The first two volumes really highlight on the characters and some nice story telling moments regarding Train's past. The three main characters Train, Sven, and Eve are easily my favorite group of characters, they all have something to focus on and go through strong development. Also even though Train is the true main character, Sven and Eve easily hold up their own and have their own fights and it never feels unbalanced. I usually see the main character syndrome in a lot of Shonen series, but Black Cat avoids that problem easily.
Soon after rescuing Eve, Train's past comes back in a major way as one man returns. Creed Diskenth who was a member of Chronos has now started his own group. The Apostle of the Stars don't come until a little later, but the introduction of Creed was strong. He's a complete psychopath who sees that the world needs major changes to it and with his new gang he will fight for that. Creed also wants Train to be a part of his group, but Train has other ideas for him. Creed is the main villain as he is connected to the Black Cat turning into a stray. When Train was on the run from Chronos, Creed was one of the people looking for him and it was for the same purpose as it was now. Train was changing though and it was because of a sweeper named Saya. She was a completely free person as she did pretty much was Train does now. She told him of the ways of using a gun for the purpose of helping and not killing. Creed, the insane man he is decides he needs to save Train from the witch Saya. He would think getting rid of her would awaken Train back to his normal self. In a way Creed did get Train back to being the Black Cat, but it only comes when he hungers for vengeance. Train's story goes through what Saya told him and applying that to even the toughest situations. The idea of to kill or not to kill is a very hard decision to make as it's a common question throughout the whole story. We see people who kill for no purpose, those who kill for the job, and others who kill for their ideals. With that there are also other people who will defend and save the people even if they have to fight them. Many stories mostly just have heroes kill the villain which is nice, but Black Cat really does change it up.
Pros- As I stated before the main characters in this manga series are a huge delight. There is Train the man who seeks for vengeance, but still has the question if he should kill or not. Sven who puts all of his efforts to help the people near to him and evolve with his powers. Eve who was born to be a killing machine gets the chance to choose what goes in her life and learning to help and protect others with her powers. There are many other characters too like Rinslet the thief. She doesn't really fight, but she does help the three out regularly. The Chronos holds some interesting characters like their leader, number one, Sephiria Arks. She doesn't hold back on what she thinks as Chronos is her way of living and those who defy will be taken down. Jenos who is number seven is a playboy kind of guy who soon finds his way into the trouble by having Rinslet do some work for him. Then the Apostle of the Stars who come later in the plot, but easily hold big characters. First there is Creed the main villain of the whole series who keeps evolving until he becomes a god of the Earth. Kyoko a high school girl who falls in love with Train and even she gets her choice to leave or continue fighting. Charden who follows Creeds words, but starts to see him slipping away from his true intentions. I could go on with many other characters as well, but I need to continue on. The artwork is pretty good, now the first issues do have a different style compared to the overall artwork. It's still pretty nice to look at though and nothing is confusing to look at. There is actually a high amount of comedy presented in the whole series and I can always get a laugh thanks to Eve being cute or Train being a mess or just messing around with others. The length of the series is one hundred and eighty-five chapters which does sound like a lot, but compared to many other manga series it's shorter than others and also compared to other Shonen series.
Cons- I will say there is some filler in the series that didn't need to be in and there are some characters that appear and won't ever again. There was a fake Black Cat who was pretty funny and it was great to see people thinking a fat middle aged man was Black Cat. Then there was the assassin who wanted to challenge Train in battle and would keep training to defeat him.
Overall- I highly recommend this series even though it can be hard to find rough copies, but maybe that could have been just me being lazy and not doing online shopping. I bet there are scans up if you want to try the first couple of chapters. Personally it's my favorite mostly because of the main cast which is unlikely in the Shonen world now. Most of the people I know or the fanbases usually hate the main characters, but love the side characters. Black Cat gives off a nice story while pulling off some new things I haven't seen in the Shonen series in the past and today. I easily give Black Cat an A+ Also don't worry today I will get the Kyoryuger review up today as well (for those wondering I finished this review at one in the morning).